SPRINGFIELD — PJ Library of Western Massachusetts, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, is opening the year with a special Sparkle Havdallah celebration that will take place on January 11 at 6:00 p.m. at Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, MA.
This is the third year of Sparkle Havdallah in this region. Sparkle Havdallah gives a new twist on Havdallah, the special ritual that marks the end of the Jewish day of rest and welcomes a new week, by adding a good dose of rainbows and colorful, twinkly lights. This Jewish ritual involves all five senses, as participants light and see the special multi-wick Havdallah candle, smell sweet spices, say/hear a blessing over a cup of wine or grape juice, and taste the wine/juice. All are welcome to attend.
Originally created by Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Sparkle Havdallah is one of PJ Library Western Massachusetts’ signature collaborative community events. It is funded by a grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and made possible with the support of Gan Keshet Jewish Community Preschool of the Pioneer Valley, Congregation Bnai Israel, LanderGrinspoon Academy, Springfield Jewish Community Center, Beit Ahavah ~ The Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton, and the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts.
This year, the event also features an activity and gift provided by High Five Books in Florence.
“We wanted to bring the ritual joy of Havdallah to our community in an approachable and inclusive way through an event that encourages and supports children to be comfortable and happy just as they are,” explains Stewart Bromberg, chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. “We are thankful to our collaborators and sponsors for helping us kick off our 2020 PJ Library programing with Sparkle Havdallah.”
Sparkle Havdallah musical story time features local favorite and Lander-Grinspoon Academy’s music specialist Felicia Sloin, and the fabulous local drag entertainers Loo D’flyest Priestly and Leo Crayz. Families may register in advance and attend a special pre-event party starting at 5:45 p.m. that features face painting, early admission to arts & crafts, and a special meet and greet with Loo D’flyest Priestly and Leo Crayz.
Sparkle Havdallah will incorporate American Sign Language (ASL), music, and inclusive Jewish and secular children’s stories to create a unique storytelling program. The program will open with a reading of PJ Library’s Shabbat Light by Samara Q. Klein, which illustrates how light marks the beginning and end of the Jewish Sabbath. The program continues with themes of diversity, inclusion, and self-expression themes through readings from All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and What Riley Wore by Elana K. Arnold. The program will close with PJ Library’s That’s a Mitzvah by Liz Suneby and Diane Heiman to illustrate how there’s almost always an opportunity to do a good deed.
PJ Library of Western Massachusetts encourages the public to wear their sparkly best or come as they are. Snacks will be available at no cost. Tickets are now on sale and proceeds will benefit Keshet, a national organization supporting LGBTQ Jews.
To purchase tickets, visit the Facebook event or Eventbrite page for PJ Library Western Massachusetts. Tickets cost $5 per person online in advance or $10 per person at the door, but no more than $30 per family. Children twelve months and under are free. If cost is a hardship, you have more than four family members joining you, or you have any questions, please contact PJ Library Western Massachusetts at PJLibrary@JewishWesternMass.org.